Art can be an extension of ourselves. Unique and untainted, one can be whatever they desire through the medium of their choice. An eternal expression of our finite fragments, this leaves one to peer inward, searching for the root of the thing that drives us to create in the first place. This connection between art and self, craft and character makes this territory so much more than just a job. It’s a way of life that tosses and tumbles its participants in an immersive and profound journey. However, we need intended spaces, serving as a sanctuary for these pieces of art and the artists who have brought them to life. Those searching for such a place should come and find Little Button Craft.
The owner of Little Button Craft, Shelby Przybylek, was very thorough in creating the energy and emotional landscape of her shop. The atmosphere feels as though you are walking into one of your favorite reading nooks. It is an inviting environment with uplifting notes of comfort and familiarity. Filled with various forms of arts and crafts, Little Button displays and sells the work of roughly one hundred and eighty-one artists. After taking over the shop in 2016, Shelby passionately executed her vision of having Little Button be a place that focuses on local work, emphasizing that, “the City of Rochester is rich with fantastic art. Rochester is also known for its heart. With that in mind, the mission for Little Button Craft was born: Find a way to marry the idea of a city full of unique crafts and its love for connection and community.”
As a way of upholding this, Przybylek holds consigner meetings with artists, stating that it is vital that the creators remain a part of this fundamental process. Through this platform and interaction, the artists are aware of the movement taking place within the shop. In addition, it brings the artists together, forming dialogue and synergy. Przybylek shares that, “if they are part of a community, I really feel that it’s important that artists know who they are selling alongside.” Not only does this help to build morale amongst the artists, but can also lead to collaborations as well.
Przybylek makes it a point to go and visit artists within their creative spaces and studios. She is dedicated to the morals of Little Button Craft and is mindful of the countless hours of work and devotion put in by the artists. It’s about seeing the individual behind the craft, and simultaneously seeing how they chose to represent or share themselves through it. Once you have placed yourself in such a setting and experienced an artist pursuing their craft in their realm, you will never see handmade items the same.
Meeting people in such an intimate manner is something that Przybylek wishes more people were able to do. When speaking about parts of the art community that are not as surfaced or visibly apparent, she adds that “it's the elements of the people” that she wishes were more acknowledged, explaining that she wishes “Rochester could see and meet some of the people on the same level” as herself. Przybylek believes that the community would show more affection and attentiveness towards the art scene if they knew about the individuals behind the pieces. In keeping to this, the shop not only presents the art itself, but the illuminating qualities and animation of the artist’s spirit.
“For us, it’s not about the sales.” Little Button Craft remains steadfast in celebrating both the work of these local artists and their bravery for sharing a piece of themselves with our community. It takes a lot of courage and isn’t as simple as some may imagine. For artists who are struggling to find themselves within their work, Przybylek strongly believes that one should “try everything and just play!”
There are many rewarding factors of this job, but Shelby shares that seeing the swelling pride that floods over customers upon the realization that someone in their city made the pieces within the store is one of the best. As a business owner and fellow artist, it is highly fulfilling to know that the work being done here is helping to expose artists and to bring the community together. As Przybylek finishes off her thoughts, she joyfully expresses a final statement: “I don’t know how I got so lucky. I hope that this feeling never wears off.”